Monday, June 16, 2014


April 2, 2003 ---_A_U.S._Army_soldier_stands_guard_duty_near_a_burning_oil_well_in_the_Rumaylah_Oil_Fields_in_Southern_Iraq--- U.S. Navy photo by  Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson

The Wall Street Journal communicates the worries.
The deteriorating situation in Iraq—a key global oil supplier—reverberated through financial markets Thursday, sending oil prices sharply higher, pushing U.S. stocks lower and igniting the latest rally in safe-haven bonds“Iraq Scrambles to Defend Baghdad” WSJ 6-10-14
But it goes so much deeper than any oil well.

Our new commitment is to fight preemptive wars by proxy-- not defense of our country, but of big oil’s companies.
But those proxy forces do not always prove equal to the task, and when they buckle, the United States finds itself having unwittingly armed its enemies — a problem the Obama administration has been trying to avoid in Syria by carefully limiting its aid to the opposition there. The militants who swept into control of Mosul on Tuesday are believed to be connected to the main Islamist militant group fighting in Syria.  “Arms Windfall for Insurgents as Iraq City Falls” NYT 6-10-14

 “surge” where is they sting?  O “Awakening” what so deeply disturbs your sleep?  All is violence, violence without end, stirred up mightily, from 1990 Gulf War onward, as our solution to Iraq’s oil riches. 
But who is now our enemy, now our friend?

President Malaki and the Shiites in charge in Baghdad have been allowing arms shipments [Russian-Iranian] through their country Iraq to help our newest enemy the Shiite Assad in Syria, while we have armed the Sunni insurgents through our CIA contacts to depose Assad.   Those terrorism-trained Sunnis return to Iraq, have captured major cities, and march on Baghdad.   Iraq’s government, fast deserted by its own U.S. trained army, now turns to Shiite militias, calls on us for airstrikes, and is confident we’ll fight in tandem with our Shiite enemy Iran [remember that axis of evil—Iran, Iraq, N. Korea] who they’ve invited to send in its crack troops.   Our war situation couldn’t be more complicated.  It couldn’t be more ridiculously, radically evil.

Domination by overwhelming violent force will never work.  Not between countries, not between religious or ethnic groups, not in our local communities.

In these preemptive proxy wars all points on the compass turn towards eventual disaster and suffering.   I’m worried that our war politics strategists are certainly intelligent enough to know this, but are losing any capacity for compassion and common sense.

We the people must strive not to follow false leaders, and to pray for a conversion from the war-like mentality of eliminating those we disagree with, compete for resources with.   Instead we’ll learn the true constructive ways to care for each other’s needs, spiritual and physical—a shared responsibility, of equals, returning to God’s path of real justice and peace.  It will take much time and grace to heal these wounds.

The Times Herald called me the late evening of March 18, 2003, to have my comment as the "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad began.  All the news media had been put on ready alert for the event. I said, and still pray, "Lord have mercy on our souls."



Illumination by Kathy Brahney

To get a better idea of the complexity ---

“Exhausted and Bereft, Iraqi Soldiers Quit Fight”  NYT 6-10-14   excerpts
The fleeing troops left weapons, vehicles and even their uniforms behind, as militants took over at least five army installations and the city’s airport. In a desperate bid to stem the losses, the military was reduced to bombing its own bases to avoid surrendering more weapons to the enemy.  American officials who had asserted that the $14 billion that the United States had spent on the Iraqi security forces would prepare them to safeguard the country after American troops left were forced to ponder images from Mosul of militants parading around captured Humvees.  ….
   Before the troops dissolved in Mosul, the army was losing as many as 300 soldiers a day, between desertions, deaths and injuries, according to a security analyst who works with the Iraqi government and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the military.
With fewer men to face the militants, the army is relying on artillery and airstrikes — including, human rights workers say, the use of indiscriminate barrel bombs — increasing the risks to civilians.
For full article ---

“Iraq Militants, Pushing South, Aim at Capital”  NYT 6-11-14  excerpts
In a further indication of the regional dimensions of the crisis, the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, facing the same jihadist adversary in its civil war against a broader array of armed foes, expressed solidarity with the Iraqi authorities and armed forces, the official SANA news agency reported.
…..  Word of the latest militant advance came as a United Nations agency reported that 500,000 people had fled Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. The International Organization for Migration, based in Geneva, said the civilians had mainly fled on foot, because the militants would not let them use vehicles and had taken control of the airport. Roughly the same number were displaced from Anbar Province in western Iraq as the militants gained ground there, the organization said.
For full article ---

“Kurdish Fighters Take a Key Oil City as Militants Advance on Baghdad,” NYT 6-12-14  -   excerpts
Leaders of Iraq’s Kurds, who have carved out their own autonomous enclave in northern Iraq, said their forces had taken full control of Kirkuk as government troops abandoned their posts there. “The army disappeared,” said Najmaldin Karim, the governor of Kirkuk.  ….
Unlike the Iraqi Army, the Kurdish forces, known as pesh merga, are disciplined and loyal to their leaders and their cause: autonomy and eventual independence for a Kurdish state. With its oil riches, Kirkuk has long been at the center of a political and economic dispute between Kurds and successive Arab governments in Baghdad.  …
Residents of Baiji, a city of 200,000 about 110 miles south of Mosul, [and a major conduit for Iraq’s gas & oil] awoke Wednesday to find that government checkpoints had been abandoned and that insurgents, arriving in a column of 60 vehicles, were taking control of parts of the city without firing a shot, the security officials said. Peter Bouckaert, the emergency services director for Human Rights Watch, said in a post on Twitter that the militants had seized the Baiji power station, which supplies electricity to Baghdad, Kirkuk and Salahuddin Province.  …
Some residents who remained in Mosul reported on Thursday that militants used mosque loudspeakers and leaflets to invite all soldiers, police officers and other government loyalists to go to the mosques and renounce their allegiance to the Baghdad authorities or face death. The occupiers also banned sales of alcohol and cigarettes and ordered women to stay home.
For full article ---

More ---
140614-In Iraq Crisis, a Tangle of Alliances and Enmities -
140614-Iraq Rebels Stall North of Baghdad as Residents Brace for a Siege -
140615-U.S. Plans to Evacuate Many Embassy Workers - NYT
140614-Oil Industry in Iraq Faces Setback to Revival -

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